As of February 12, 2020, the WHO reported that China had a total of 45, 171 confirmed cases of Novel Corona Virus, now renamed COVID19 by the World Health Organization. There are now 441 confirmed cases in 24 countries which include: Thailand (33), Japan (28), and the Republic of Korea (28), Vietnam (15), Singapore (47), Australia (15), Malaysia (18), Cambodia (1), Philippines (3), Nepal (1), Sri Lanka (1), India (3), United States of America (13), Canada (7), France (11), Finland (1), Germany (16), Italy (3), Russian Federation (2), United Kingdom (8), Belgium (1), Spain (2), Sweden (1) and United Arab Emirates (8). The cases on an international conveyance, that is the cruise liner, in Japan (175).
There are no Corona Virus cases in St. Lucia or the Caribbean region. On February 11, 2020, the Department of Health and Wellness reported that a non-national who arrived in Saint Lucia via a private yacht from a neighbouring territory was placed on medical quarantine at a health facility as he had visited a health care institution with respiratory symptoms and had a recent travel history to mainland China. A sample was taken from the patient and was sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency CARPHA for testing. On February 12, 2020, the Department of Health & Wellness received the test results of the non-national quarantined and confirms that the patient has tested negative for the Novel Corona Virus. This experience has served as a simulation exercise to test our level of preparedness.
The Department of Health & Wellness reassures the public of its commitment to strengthen its preparedness plan and ensure that all the necessary protocols and guidelines are followed to reduce the possible impact of the Corona Virus on the population. The Department of Health will continue
to work closely with its stakeholders and regional agencies to manage the treat of the Corona Virus.
In the interim, the public is asked to continue practicing the standard recommendations to prevent the spread of infection. These include:
- regular hand washing with soap and water or alcohol based hand sanitizer where soap and water is not available.
- cover mouth and nose with disposable tissues or clothing when coughing and sneezing.
- avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
- seek medical attention and share your travel history with your health care provider if you have symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness either during or after travel.
The Department of Health & Wellness will continue working with our stakeholders to strengthen our level of preparedness.